OnBOX: ITV’s Jane Austen’s Sanditon Has a Wealthy Black Heiress

Inspired by Jane Austen’s unfinished final novel,  which was written just months before Austen’s death in 1817, it is a compelling depiction of a developing Regency seaside town at the forefront of the great social and economic changes of the age. Airing on Sunday nights the first episode went out on the 25th of August.
This is not a token diversity move as Ms Lambe comes directly from the pages of Austen’s novel. Georgina Lambe played by Crystal Clarke is the extremely wealthy black heiress, she is described by Austen as the “young West Indian of large fortune”. Lambe is the only black character in any of Austen’s novels and sadly Austen died before it was finished so no one really knows what she had in store for this character.
In the book she is described as “half mulatto” which was the term used for mixed race people at the time. ITV have appointed Andrew Davies, serial Austen screenwriter to write the series.
(Image credit: Crystal Clarke as Miss Georgina Lambe)
The story:
When a carriage accident introduces the young Charlotte Heywood (Rose Williams) to the Parker family, she embarks on a journey from the only home she has ever known to the seaside idyll of Sanditon.
Carried along by the enthusiasm of entrepreneur Tom Parker for the development of the once small fishing village into a fashionable seaside resort, Charlotte quickly finds herself at the heart of a diverse and unexpected community.
From the direct but miserly Lady Denham, on whose fortune the Sanditon project relies, to the bitter fight between the numerous relatives hoping to inherit Lady Denham’s money, Charlotte quickly discovers that not everyone is as they first appear.
With the arrival of a wealthy mixed race heiress, and a succession of hypochondriacs seeking saltwater ‘cures’ flooding in, Charlotte must learn for the first time to navigate the complex social structures evident in the town.
And then there is Sidney Parker. Handsome, but also the most wild of the Parker brothers, Sidney and Charlotte almost immediately clash.
Charlotte – spirited, open and inexperienced – is tactlessly forthright about Sidney’s family and he is affronted by her stridency and naïve ignorance. With the dark sea stretching out behind them, and the bustle of a regency ball just out of ear-shot, the battle lines of this central, winding and heated romance are drawn.
Amidst the rival suitors and unexpected danger, can Charlotte and Sidney see past each other’s flaws and forge a real relationship? Against the backdrop of Tom’s ambitious vision for the town beginning to crumble, can Sanditon – and Charlotte’s place within it – be saved?
This rich, family saga stretching from the West Indies to the rotting alleys of London, leads us to the heart of a town consumed by class divide, ambition, power play and romance. In Sanditon, Charlotte Heywood comes to discover herself…and ultimately find love. Rose Williams, Theo James, Anne Reid and Kris Marshall star.

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